Ori and the Blind Forest

A stunningly presented explorative platformer that favours reliably familiar ideas over innovation.

Key events

Ori sequel looks absolutely phenomenal

Ori sequel looks absolutely phenomenal

Behold: Ori and the Will of the Wisps.

Stylish fantasy metroidvania Ori and the Blind Forest is getting a sequel, Ori and the Will of the Wisps.

Revealed at Microsoft's E3 press conference, this follow-up will come to Xbox One and Windows 10 as an Xbox Play Anywhere title.

"Embark on an all new adventure to discover the mysteries beyond the forest of Nibel, uncover the hidden truths of those lost, and unravel Ori's true destiny," developer Moon Studios teased of its impending adventure.

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Ori and the Blind Forest is getting an expansion this year

Ori and the Blind Forest is getting an expansion this year

UPDATE: Will be released as a Definitive Edition.

UPDATE 07/08/2015 11.46pm Ori and the Blind Forest developer Moon Studios clarified that the game is actually getting a Definitive Edition for Xbox One and PC due later this year.

Moon Studios co-founders Thomas Mahler and Gennadiy Korol announced the enhanced edition on the official Xbox Gamescom livestream [below].

"We received a ton of fan feedback and are just trying to make this the ultimate version of Ori," Mahler said.

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Ori and the Blind Forest review

First things first, Ori and the Blind Forest is gorgeous. Absolutely jaw-droppingly eye-poppingly gorgeous. You'd have to look back to Okami for a game so visually beguiling. It's the sort of game where you'll actually stop and give an involuntary "ooh" sound when you first see it in motion.

That introduction comes not via title character Ori, but through Naru, a large lolloping creature living in Nibel forest, who simultaneously evokes memories of both Totoro and the faceless masked spirit from Spirited Away. Those Studio Ghibli stylings can't be accidental, as indie collective Moon Studios delivers much the same rich, deep and gentle visuals that made Hayao Miyazaki's work so beloved. Naru plods through lush bucolic scenery with real weight, his belly swaying just so. The hazy dappled lighting is beautiful, the 2D gameplay field augmented with multiple scrolling layers, each painstakingly animated. It's so inviting, so tangible, that if you have hayfever you may find yourself stifling a sneeze.

This isn't Naru's story, though, and we're soon introduced to Ori, a cat-like sprite that emerges from a leaf fallen from a glowing Tree of Life. Naru and Ori form an immediate friendship, and the game wisely takes the time to illustrate this through gameplay, as they gather fruit and frolic in the late afternoon sun.

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Ori and the Blind Forest gets PC, Xbox One release date

Ori and the Blind Forest gets PC, Xbox One release date

Xbox 360 version to follow in 2015, remember.

Stylish platformer Ori and the Blind Forest at last has a release date: 11th March on PC and Xbox One.

In the US both versions will cost $19.99; it's not announced what their equivalent here will be.

Ori and the Blind Forest is made by Moon Studios, published by Microsoft. The game follows a spirit who explores magical lands, walking along ceilings and up walls.

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FeatureOri and the Blind Forest looks great, but plays even better

"I hope people don't see it as this artsy-fartsy game that tries to make you sad."

One look at the trailer for Microsoft's upcoming Metroidvania adventure Ori and the Blind Forest and it's easy to be blown away by its Studio Ghibli inspired visuals. It's also just as easy to be a little dubious, thinking it's a knee-jerk reaction to the Redmond giant's less than stellar reputation with indie developers after Sony made such a fuss about them last year. "We can do pretty, quirky indie games too!" it seemed to say. It may surprise you to learn that Ori has actually been in development for four years at Moon Studios, while Microsoft picked it up three years ago.